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Egypt's crisis deepens

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Egypt's crisis deepens


Day nine began with even bigger crowds filling the centre of Cairo calling for change, but as the day wore on it became apparent they would not have it all their own way.

The opposition claims its ranks have been infiltrated by members of the security services bent on destruction in a bid to discredit them. Now they faced overt opposition from people loyal to the old guard.

Yet international support for the 82-year old president is evaporating, even if ally and neighbour Israel expressed its fear Mubarak’s passing would herald years of instability. Opposition figurehead Mohamed El Baradei, anticipating Friday’s planned “Day of Departure” demonstration said he hoped Mubarak would be gone by the week’s end, and said he now had proof of infiltration of the protests by agents provocateurs.

As the tumultuous day ended Egypt’s new vice-president told the protestors no dialogue between the government and opposition would begin until they had ended their demonstrations and calm was restored.

Another factor has entered the equation. While there are plenty of fuel and food stocks in Egypt, distributing them is becoming a problem, with the ports reporting manpower shortages. While everyone is out protesting, who goes to work? Eventually economic reality will also start to sap the opposition’s energy.

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